MANILA -- MalacaAang on Saturday dismissed the recent pronouncements of an opposition party-list lawmaker that President Rodrigo R. Duterte's recent release of the narco-list containing politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs, could constitute an impeachable offense.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin is unfamiliar with impeachment as a process since he is a not a lawyer.
"The statement of Akbayan Rep. Tomasito 'Tom' Villarin that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's action of releasing the list of narco-politicians 'could constitute an impeachable offense for culpable violation of the Constitution' has no legal and factual basis. In other words, it's pure nonsense. The opposition party-list congressman is quick to respond to an issue of unfamiliar terrain to a non-lawyer like him," he said.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential legal counsel, said charges have already been filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against those in the list, affording them their right to due process and an opportunity to clear their names before competent authorities
"The release of their names is nothing more than a release of the names of criminal suspects. Such act cannot be considered a legal transgression, and even more so, an impeachable offense," he said.
Panelo said it is the President's duty to protect Filipinos from the drug menace that has ruined society.
"It is paramount that the individual liberties of our citizens should be harmonized with the entire Filipino people's right to the preservation and protection of their welfare, as well as their right to information on matters of national significance," he said.
"The people's right to safety prevails over the individual rights of persons piercing and destroying the security net that protects the citizenry," he added.
Panelo said the President's failure to protect citizens is the one that constitutes an impeachable offense.
"It is the failure of the President to perform his constitutional duty of serving and protecting the people that makes him liable to impeachment for such omission is culpable violation of the Constitution and a betrayal of the public trust," he said.
Villarin on Friday claimed the President's release of the narco-list was a violation of the Constitution and an individual's right to due process and presumption of innocence. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency